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Emotions run high in Mickelson's third win

The Associated Press. Phil Mickelson celebrates on the 18th hole after winning the Masters on Sunday in Augusta.

The Associated Press. Phil Mickelson celebrates on the 18th hole after winning the Masters on Sunday in Augusta.

AUGUSTA -- For all the hoopla surrounding Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf after a five-month layoff that revolved around his marital problems, the 2010 Masters produced another emotional moment for a husband and wife Sunday at Augusta National.

Phil Mickelson's final-round 67 gave him a four-day total of 16-under par 272, his third green jacket and a poignant embrace with his wife, Amy, in attendance to watch her husband play in person for the first time since being diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago.

"This has been a very special day and a very special week," Mickelson said after matching Woods for the fourth-lowest winning score in Masters history. The third win ties him with Nick Faldo, Gary Player, Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret for the fourth most titles.

"And to have Amy and my kids here to share it with (me), I can't put into words," Mickelson said. "It just feels incredible, especially give what we've been through the last year. To be able to share this kind of joy means a lot to us."

As special as the moment was for Mickelson, his play produced many special moments bound to become part of the lore of the storied tournament.

Among them was one stroke of bad fortune on the second green and a shot for the ages in fabled "Amen Corner" that will likely be talked about for years.

The first came as he was lining up a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second hole. As he brought his putter back, debris from a nearby pine tree fell right into his line. It turned what might have been tournament-tying birdie into a par and left him still one shot back of then-leader Lee Westwood.

"Well, the first thing was, 'Where does that come from?'" Mickelson said when asked about his thoughts after the shot. "I look down my line and it's not there, and as I stroke it, it fell, and you have to wonder, 'Is somebody out to get you?'"

Call it karma or just a magnificent shot, Mickelson got it back while clinging to a one-stroke lead and facing a daunting task after hitting his tee shot into the woods at the par-5 13th.

With his ball situated on pine needles near two trees, the left-hander fired a low 6-iron shot between the trees, barely missing one tree with his follow-through, and knocked the ball within four feet of the pin.

Though he missed the ensuing eagle putt, a tap-in for birdie gave Mickelson more breathing room from a host of pursuers. And maybe even gave venerable Augusta National a new landmark. Perhaps Phil's Pines?

"It was a 6-iron, 207 (yards) to the hole. I knocked it four feet," Mickelson deadpanned to much laughter in his post-round press conference. "I had a good lie in the pine needles I was going to have to go through that gap (in the two trees) if I laid up or went for the green. I was going to have to hit a decent shot.

"The gap was a little bit wider -- it wasn't huge, but it was big enough, you know, for a ball to fit through. I just felt like at that time, I needed to trust my swing and hit a shot, and it came off perfect."

The timing definitely couldn't have been any better.

Westwood, who also birdied No. 13, wasn't going away. The Englishman also birdie the par-5 17th, but could not catch Mickelson in the end.

"I shot (1-under) 71 at the end of (Sunday), which is not a terrible score around Augusta when you're in the lead," Westwood said. "Phil shot 67, which generally wins major championships. ... He hit good shots when he needed to around the back nine."

After what he considered a disappointing third round Saturday, Anthony Kim was in the midst of a huge charge on the back nine with three birdies and an eagle from holes 13-16 to pull to within a stroke of Mickelson. But then Phil the Thrill pulled off his heroics on No. 13.

"I was happy that I hung in there and gave myself an opportunity (Sunday) where if I shot something silly low, I would have a chance to win this golf tournament," said Kim, who shot a final-round 65 to finish the tournament in third at 12-under.

And then there was Woods.

Almost lost in Mickelson's big day and the hype surrounding his own return from the five-month layoff, the four-time champion capped a strong tournament with a final-round 69 to tie with playing partner K.J. Choi for fourth at 11-under.

"Yeah, I finished fourth. Not what I wanted," Woods said. "I wanted to win this tournament. ... Well, I entered this event and I only enter events to win, and I didn't get it done."